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As I tried to tell you,” Bellamy was saying to Langdon, “there is more to this pyramid than meets the eye.”

Apparently so. Langdon had to admit that the stone pyramid sitting in his unzipped daybag looked much more mysterious to him now. His decryption of the Masonic cipher had rendered a seemingly meaningless grid of letters.


For a long while, Langdon examined the grid, searching for any hint of meaning within the letters—hidden words, anagrams, clues of any sort—but he found nothing.

“The Masonic Pyramid,” Bellamy explained, “is said to guard its secrets behind many veils. Each time you pull back a curtain, you face another. You have unveiled these letters, and yet they tell you nothing until you peel back another layer. Of course, the way to do that is known only to the one who holds the capstone. The capstone, I suspect, has an inscription as well,

which tells you how to decipher the pyramid.”

Langdon glanced at the cube-shaped package on the desk. From what Bellamy had said, Langdon now understood that the capstone and pyramid were a “segmented cipher”—a code broken into pieces. Modern cryptologists used segmented ciphers all the time, although the security scheme had been invented in ancient Greece. The Greeks, when they wanted to store secret information, inscribed it on a clay tablet and then shattered the tablet into pieces, storing each piece in a separate location. Only when all the pieces were gathered together could the secrets be read. This kind of inscribed clay tablet—called a symbolon—was in fact the origin of the modern word symbol.

“Robert,” Bellamy said, “this pyramid and capstone have been kept apart for generations, ensuring the secret’s safety.” His tone turned rueful. “Tonight, however, the pieces have come dangerously close. I’m sure I don’t have to say this . . . but it is our duty to ensure this pyramid is not assembled.”

Langdon found Bellamy’s sense of drama to be somewhat overwrought. Is he describing the capstone and pyramid . . . or a detonator and nuclear bomb? He still couldn’t quite accept Bellamy’s claims, but it hardly seemed to matter. “Even if this is the Masonic Pyramid, and even if this inscription does somehow reveal the location of ancient knowledge, how could that knowledge possibly impart the kind of power it is said to impart?”

“Peter always told me you were a hard man to convince—an academic who prefers proof to speculation.”

“You’re saying you do believe that?” Langdon demanded, feeling impatient now. “Respectfully . . . you are a modern, educated man. How could you believe such a thing?”

Bellamy gave a patient smile. “The craft of Freemasonry has given me a deep respect for that which transcends human understanding. I’ve learned never to close my mind to an idea simply because it seems miraculous.”